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Duke Energy Plan Would Hike Consumer Rates

The $1.83 billion plan includes installation of advanced metering throughout the state, and replacing or improving substations, circuit breakers, transformers, poles and lines.

The plan must be approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, who will take into account evidence from Duke Energy and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, a separate state agency designed to be an advocate for consumers.

OUCC spokesperson Anthony Swinger said the Duke plan will have to convince his office that it's ultimately in the best interest of rate payers across the state.

“The utility has the burden of proof. So one of the things we are looking at is, has the utility met that burden," Swinger said. "What story does the evidence tell and what would be in the best interest of consumers as a result of the case?”

The OUCC invites the public to comment on the plan before they issue an opinion. The OUCC will accept public comments until February 11th and will give their opinion on the plan by February 18th.

Construction would take place between 2016 and 2023. Rates would increase up to 1.35 percent each year, but the increase could be as low as 0.69 percent.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission is expected to make a decision by the end of July.

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